J.C. Penney reported Wednesday its same-store sales remained flat compared with the third quarter a year ago, disappointing Wall Street expectations for 3 percent growth. The company's stock, which rose nearly 8 percent during the regular trading session Wednesday, fell more than 3 percent to $7.50 in after-hours trading, after the earnings announcement.
The department store chain reported a loss of $188 million, or 61 cents per share, in the third quarter, a smaller loss than last year's $489 million, or $1.94 per share. Net sales for the most recent quarter were $2.76 billion compared to $2.78 billion in the third quarter of 2013.
"This quarter shows the progress we are making in the final phase of J.C. Penney's turnaround," said CEO Myron Ullman. "Like most retailers, following a strong start to the back-to-school season, sales did slow in September and October as unseasonably warm weather hindered the sale of fall goods."
J.C. Penney's same-store sales are up 4.3 percent from the beginning of the year, but that's not saying much. The retailer's sales dropped 26 percent in 2011 and 2012 and nearly 5 percent from 2012 and last year. The drop began when former CEO Ron Johnson tried to make the store more upscale, with designer boutiques and fewer clearance prices.